Chinese-made model to tower over hotel hearing

Project spokesman Steve Rodgers examines a scale model of a proposed new hotel for Dunedin, which is the subject of a resource consent hearing beginning next week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Project spokesman Steve Rodgers examines a scale model of a proposed new hotel for Dunedin, which is the subject of a resource consent hearing beginning next week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The 28-storey hotel proposed for Dunedin's waterfront will dominate proceedings at next week's resource consent hearing for the project - in more ways than one.

A giant lit-up Chinese-made scale model of the proposed building, complete with cars with working head and tail-lights, will stand in the corner of the Edinburgh Room in Dunedin's Municipal Chambers where the hearings start on Monday.

The hearings committee of Crs Colin Weatherall (chairman), Andrew Noone and Kate Wilson and commissioner John Lumsden will start hearing submissions from the applicant on Monday, the first day of the hearing, which is set down for four days, but expected to go longer.

Dunedin lawyer Steve Rodgers, the director of Betterways Advisory Ltd, the company fronting the development, said he expected the company's evidence, including evidence from more than six experts, would take about a day to a day and a-half to get through, before public submissions began.

More than 100 people or organisations are expected to make a verbal submission to the panel.

The plans for the five-star hotel and apartment tower in Wharf St drew 507 public submissions, 457 opposed, 43 in support and seven neutral.


Pick your battles

Ej Kerr and house:  Whinging about the comfort levels of council seating is valid, but would you then suggest the DCC to spend ratepayers' money on making you more comfortable on these rare occasions that these submissions run?
Pick your battles. [Abridged]

DCC public meeting seating not good

I agree with EJ Kerr about DCC public seating being poor  (uncomfortable, cramped, poor access so you disturb others when going in and out ). I'm comparing this with my experience of Auckland City Council and (long ago) Waiheke County Council and later Waiheke Community Board  - although it's not really necessary to compare it with other local bodies to see that it could be vastly improved. 

Submission timing

One would think there would be a contingency day between the applicant and responders' submissions in case of overruns, though I'm not sure that would work if everyone factored it in and just used it.

Good on you for submitting and having your say.

I myself gave up on that side of things after a submission against the stadium and suspect that it was a done deal well before that process got going. 

I'm not so sure that the DCC is helping the applicant in this case.  They have not recommended that the project go ahead and have asked for more information etc.

If this project doesn't go ahead then I can't really see Dunedin being looked on too favourably for future privately funded projects.


Jobs, jobs, jobs

I don't believe anyone with an ounce of common sense doesn't want this city to advance into the 21st century.

I love this city and its architecture and history as much as the next person, but we need to move forward. We need jobs and businesses to prosper.

However there is an section of society in Dunedin that is happy to keep this city in some sort of 19th century time capsule.with very little change.

I haven't met any of them, so cannot comment on their numbers or existence. Everybody I have spoken to is excited at the prospect of this hotel going ahead.

As one door closes at Hillside, another door opens in the form of this hotel.

Please get positive Dunedin.


Serial submitters

ej your comment 'Have never come across such poor seating provided by a local authority for long and detailed hearing processes' begs a couple of questions.

How many long hearing processes have you been to - with how many different local authorities?

Are you some kind of serial submitter?  Do you travel around different towns submitting on anything that takes your fancy?

Hearing and submitters

The chairman of the hearing committee said at the adjournment late this afternoon there is a legal requirement to start at 10am tomorrow (Wednesday) - that much we know. The governance officer has emailed a reply to my query, saying there will be a schedule of submitters available on the table tomorrow morning; showing who is pending in which order - I suspect further delays to schedule given some submitters' use of experts and lengthy briefs of evidence to come. This could be a long torture inflicted on submitters in the the non-ergonomic chairs DCC persists in placing in the public gallery! Have never come across such poor seating provided by a local authority for long and detailed hearing processes. I'm tempted to arrive by own wheelchair for the marathon.

Little Shanghai

That's disgusting, Barnaby. They've probably asked for more time to persuade the Council to change Dunedin's name to Little Shanghai  with a promise that it will  attract more tourists.

Sudden adjournments unreasonable

The sudden cancellation or adjournment of a submitter's scheduled time to speak is very unfair - even arrogant - of DCC. If the applicants wanted to speak further, then surely they could have been allowed extra time after all the scheduled speakers.
DCC has done this with public meetings of the council too - cancellation about an hour before scheduled time eg the meeting to adopt the Annual Plan. Also, it's not always clear when the public are going to be excluded. It would help if all agenda items with public excluded were always discussed together at the end of the meetings so any observers don't have to hang around.
Councillors and staff should keep in mind that there are other people and members of the public who they should take into consideration, and they should not just suddenly rearrange things for their own convenience.


1 hour notice of cancellation of submission

I was due to talk to my submission against this monstrosity at 2pm today. At 1 pm I received a phonecall from the DCC cancelling my slot, citing the fact that the applicant wanted more time to present their proposal as the reason. 

I had altered all my work plans to fit in with the time I had been allocated and have now wasted an entire day. Presumably it is the same for all other submitters who were scheduled for today. I cannot see why they could not have scheduled a further slot for the developer at a later date.

Clearly the DCC continues its stance of bending over backwards for anyone with money while the ratepayer gets taken for a ride.


The hotel is Not a Stadium

I can see why there is opposition as per the outcome of the stadium project.

I wasn't impressed by the stadium project mostly due to the funding model (not private), the council running it (not a core activity and not infrastructure) and Dunedin just doesn't need a covered stadium (it isn't used enough).

If a project is comercially viable then someone other than the state or local government will build it.  That certainly didn't happen with the stadium.

Here, we have someone that wants to spend over $100M of their money on a project in Dunedin.  This has to be the biggest private project for the city in some time.

People I have talked to about this building are making all sorts of excuses not to build it and keep using the stadium as an example where they are very different.

So long as the ratepayer isn't stung then this project then I think it is OK, especially as tourists that stay in five star hotels stay longer and spend more than other tourists.

28 storeys is not big...

If we take the logic that 28 storeys is too big for Dunedin now then back in the days of five stories I'm sure people also thought the buildings would be too big.

This building will look big for a while until locals get used to it being part of the environment.

Basically, Dunedin needs to get out of its funk of "arn't our historical, unused, delapidated buildings from the gold rush era just lovely".


Stevpf: Morning Report was carrying a clip this morning of the applicant saying that the design and height are non-negotiable.

This is what a hearing is

Why are you saying they aren't listening to you ... that's what the hearing is for. @G they are not going to change the design now. At the hearing they will show what they have proposed and then people will oppose/talk to that proposed. Then, in terms of granting consent the process of negotiating on height/design etc starts from there.

This is a process people, they are simply following it. Readers attacking the model online is irrelevant. 

What is that!?

Is this a joke?

What is that thing? A waterfront hotel for ants?

It needs to be at least 3 times as big! 

Playing with Lego and other theories

At the heart of it, this model shows how the big boys intent on building this hotel were once little boys playing with their Lego and seeing how high they could make a structure. Same mentality. Except big boy play has more serious consequences for all.

Additional to this theory is that building strong, and long, phallic structures, with the advancement of middle age, points to possible psycho/sexual issues. Time to call in a team of psychiatrists, I believe.

Oh.. and of course there is the money to be made... for some. 

London already has the problem

Similar concerns about the inappropiate location and design of high rise buildings are being raised (too late) in London. See this link 

Where's the river going to be?

Is that the railway line that the river is going to be on or is it going to be on Wharf Street?

Height and shading

The council planner's report on the proposed hotel and apartment building (3-storey podium and 24-storey tower, plus basement) says that:

[87] "The mid-summer shading diagram shows the shadow to pass through more than 180° from morning to evening but, as the sun is high in the sky, the midday shadows are quite short. Early morning and late afternoon shadows are, of course, the longest. The morning shadow reaches as far as the Warehouse in Broadway, and will impact on a number of residential properties. This, however, is relatively short lasting, and by 8am the shadow has retreated as far as Crawford Street, limiting its effects mainly to the more commercial warehouse precinct." cont.

Renderings aside (received from the applicant and submitters), this gives a quick if not dramatic indication of the proposed building height, in a low rise city.

Wind impacts have not been fully assessed and reported on. A wind tunnel test has not been undertaken.


House says '28 stories is not a big building', but what is considered 'big' must relate to context. If someone built a five-storey building next door to you on a suburban plot it would be 'big'.  In Manhattan 28 storeys would look small (the Empire State Building is 102 storeys high). In Dunedin it would look enormous, the next tallest being around 10 storeys high. This hotel would make the groups of nearby buildings look a bit like toytown.

Whose city is this?

It's once again abundantly clear that the concerns of us ratepayers do not factor in the thinking of these developers. So much for the democratic ideal.

The consensus is clearly that a building of such a style clashes brazenly and thoughtlessly with the general architecture of the city. The fact that such an incongruent figure might be allowed to tower above and dominate our skyline, against such clear common opposition, is simply sickening.  

In the case of the stadium, our rates were routed against the popular will of the ratepayer, into the hands of developers all members of the "old boys club". 

Now, again against ratepayer will, our skyline and architectural integrity might be irreversibly perverted. Whose city is this? 

False models

1.  Looks a bit rickety :-)  Hopefully not an indicator of future build quality.

2.  False impression.  There's no room for trees and a river in front.

So far the developers have done an excellent job of treading the same path as the stadium developers.  And they wonder why there is opposition.

"fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, well, I'm not going to get fooled twice" --George Bush 

Odd headline?

The model of the proposed hotel certainly sounds impressive.

I'm not sure what the relevance to the readers is of the model being Chinese made.  Certainly, the headline saying it is Chinese made seems to infer that is the most important part of the story.

Also, with the height of the building (28 stories is not a big building) being the main concern of submitters, saying that the model "Towers over" the hearings is a bit emotive.

Perhaps the ODT is playing on the impact rail wagons made in China have had on Hillside, something a lot of readers have strong opinons of and also the main area of contention with the project, height?

Or it could just be me reading too much between the lines on this one.

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